Steve Palmer's Valspar Championship first-round leader tips & best bets
Florida-loving Jason Kokrak can build on excellent Copperhead record
Golf tips, best match bets and first-round leader analysis for the Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course on the PGA Tour.
When to watch
Sky Sports Golf, 12pm Thursday
Jason Kokrak to beat Joaquin Niemann
3pts 10-11 bet365
Dustin Johnson to beat Justin Thomas
2pts 11-10 Betfair, BoyleSports
Corey Conners first-round leader
1.5pts each-way 33-1 Betfred
Keith Mitchell first-round leader
1pt each-way 100-1 bet365, Coral, Ladbrokes
Tyrrell Hatton was among four players forced to withdraw from this week's Valspar Championship after testing positive for Covid-19, but the marquee threeball of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Joaquin Niemann is unaffected.
Sepp Straka, Brice Garnett and Will Gordon were the others forced to leave the tournament.
Johnson, Thomas and Niemann all skipped last week's Zurich Classic and comprise the 6.11pm (UK and Ireland time) Valspar threeball.
Johnson, who improved his driving and putting on his way to 13th place in the RBC Heritage last time out, seems a value 11-10 outsider against Thomas in a 72-hole match, but their late Thursday tee-time means neither may make an impact in the first-round-leader market.
Morning starters, with fresh greens and the lightest breezes, can be favoured for that honour and Corey Conners (33-1) and Keith Mitchell (100-1) are attractive options.
Conners, who led after round one in his only previous Valspar visit when 596th in the world rankings, has returned full of form and confidence. The Canadian can do damage from a 12.39pm (UK) starting berth, while Mitchell, the 2019 Honda Classic champion, also has a penchant for getting among the birdies in the Sunshine State.
Mitchell finished 11th in his only previous Valspar start - when ranked outside the world's top 600 - and he can feature on the leaderboard again after starring in the Zurich Classic last week.
Pick of the 72-hole matches is arguably Jason Kokrak to beat Niemann.
Kokrak, who tied for second in the last Valspar, has a fantastic record in the event and finished in the top ten in all three of his Florida Swing appearances earlier this year.
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